Thursday, November 12, 2009
United States and Mexican human rights groups have asked an international human rights commission to investigate thousands of deaths along the border since 1994. The American Civil Liberties Union and Mexico's Commission on Human Rights say the deaths are a humanitarian crisis.
The letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights blames US policy for the more than 5,000 people who've died trying to cross the border during the last 15 years.
The letter alleges both the U.S. and Mexico have violated international human rights by failing to identify many of the dead and repatriate their bodies.
Kevin Keenan, director of the ACLU in San Diego, said, although the US is not bound by the Commission's findings, the pressure it applies could be key.
"If you have the Inter-American Commission requiring the U.S. to engage on this issue, the U.S. is more likely to come up with solutions to this problem than otherwise," said Keenan.
The commission rejected a similar petition the ACLU filed a decade ago. At that point, 300 people had died trying to cross the border.